Progress in todays society

Essay by rfridhandlerHigh School, 11th gradeA, March 2007

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Speech Day - Persuasive SpeechStand on your chair. Now lift up your left foot, now for a second lift up the heel your right foot. How unstable do you feel? This is how unstable the world is. As you stand on one leg, the world hangs by a single thread, a thread holding a world with weapons of mass destruction, and regular use of chemicals responsible for the continued degradation of the environment.

Hello ladies and gentleman, my name is -------- and I am here to clear up a common misconception. It is commonly thought that innovation, improvement, and progress are words only associated with positive aspects, and beneficial outcomes. However, through examination of historical situations and inferences of what is to come, the opposite of this assumption becomes true. Progress is not always our friend, at times it is a vicious enemy.

Ideal of Progress:Despite certain events of the twentieth century, the Victorian ideal of progress is still widely believed in.

The ideal of progress is a belief succinctly defined by historian Sidney Pollard in 1968. Pollard stated that the belief is “the assumption that a pattern of change exists in the history of mankind, that it consists of irreversible changes in one direction only, and that this direction is towards improvement.” Although the idea of progress is old, Pollard mentions that material progress, as apposed to moral progress, is a very recent one.

How Progress has led to the instability of the world:Progress, specifically material progress, has become dangerous. Author Ronald Wright describes it as “a seductive trail of successes that may end in a trap.”The most apparent and concerning example would be the evolution of weapons.

The club is better than the fist, the arrow better than the club, and the bullet even better than the arrow.